Ever since meeting Ted and learning to surf, he’s been telling me about snowboarding and how it’s like a really, really long wave. Being that with surfing, the rides are just never long enough, so this idea of a never-ending ride was pretty appealing to me.
I’ve finally gotten my chance, as we’re out in Vail for the week! He’s attending a conference but they break from 9 to 3, leaving us plenty of time to hit the slopes each day. Since it’s been almost 10 years since Ted’s snowboarded, we both took lessons our first day here.
I’m willing to say that our instructor has taken advantage of the recently relaxed drug laws in the great state of Colorado because his train of thought was highly questionable. So it wasn’t the most productive lesson of the day (as evidenced by the other classes’ progression in comparison to ours) but we’re still way better off having taken it.
Though we learned how to do heel turns and how to stop…sort of, we didn’t learn any toe turns – when you turn in to the mountain. From what I’ve heard, that’s a critical element of snowboarding and without it, you’re really at a loss. Kinda like if your surfing instructor taught you how to paddle but not how to pop up. With that clear disadvantage, our first day on our own was interesting.
The bunny slope was too flat so we felt like wake boarders without a tow rope. The next option was a super easy green run, which was exactly what we needed. It was actually going pretty well…until we were exiting the chair lift.
A note about this particular lift: Even though it was clearly for beginners (since it was a tiny green run next to the bunny hill), it was the steepest and slickest chair lift exit in Vail. Like, it had a reputation for being bad.
During one of our rides up, we saw a man being taken down the hill on a rescue sled after a fall coming off the lift (before I go on, I have to tell you that he was taking a selfie during his ride down.
Sweet Moses, we’ve officially become the most self-absorbed culture (#fauxcelebrity).
Moving on, when we got up to the top of the lift, we noticed fresh blood in the snow where he evidentially crashed. So, I don’t know if they made the lift exit this way to weed out the weak (kinda like the first two weeks in BUDS), but it was definitely the gauntlet of chair lift exits.
Coupling that and the fact that our Spicoli of an instructor didn’t tell us to not put our weight on our back foot when exiting the chair lift, we fell on most of our exits – despite the fact that the attendant would slow it down for us.
On what ended up being the last run, he wasn’t there to slow us down. We went careening down the cruel trick of an exit and our boards flew out from under us, sending us crashing back on our tail bones. As if that wasn’t enough, our heads whipped backward into the packed snow.
Now, we were wearing helmets (a must, so don’t ever think about doing this without one), but mine was a little big so I don’t think that helped matters. Luckily I didn’t see stars, or have a lingering headache, so I must not have the same fate as the majority of NFL players. Ted, on the other hand, has been experiencing throbbing headaches, so that’s a little scary.
What made matters even worse is that I wasn’t so wise with my pant choice today. I thought I was beating the system when I wore my cycling shorts (they have terrific padding!) so I paired those with some unpadded pants. However, I knew from my very first fall earlier that morning that I wasn’t going to be able to fall on my butt without some significant pain.
It turns out that while, yes, cycling shorts have a lot of padding, it doesn’t go up high enough to protect your tail bone. So I had zero padding where it mattered most. After this last fall, I began envisioning spending the rest of my pregnancy laid up in bed because of a broken tail bone (oh yes, I’m 14 weeks pregnant), and that’s just not part of my prenatal plan.
So, we thought that was probably our sign to call it for the day. Ironically, it was one of our best runs (maybe because we couldn’t overthink it in our state of mild concussion), so we at least ended it on a good note.